I’ve been thinking a lot about my spirituality lately, and the whole concept of ‘religion’ in general. I’ve come to the realization that despite the fact I was raised in a Christian home, I am not by any means a Christian, nor have I been for a long time now, although that was unconsciously known to me at the time.
At first when I came to the conclusion that Christianity, and all other religion in general is a lie, I labelled myself as atheist. However, the doctrines I’d been brought up made me scared for the first time. What will happen when I die? What if God really does exist? I don’t want to burn in the fires of hell for eternity. Logically of course this makes no sense. The illusion that Christianity is based on love is just that – an illusion. At its very hidden core it is built on fear. In a nutshell, that is the ultimate contradiction. It also defies most of the laws of nature and science. But enough about why I don’t believe in it anymore, perhaps that is for another post another time. The fact is, no matter how illogical it is, there is that indoctrinated part of me that won’t let the fear of the afterlife go. And of course at its heart: human inquisitiveness.
So in the wake of the death of my instilled Christian values, I decided to read up on Near Death Experiences. What I read surprised me. The results are the collective experiences of people being clinically dead from anywhere between two minutes and two hours before being revived. The experiences have objective themes, such as looking down at your own (physical) body, passing through a dark tunnel, seeing a bright light, being embraced by the light and/or love, and talking to the light. What surprised me the most though was that there were also subjective themes. The afterlife seemed to be influenced by whatever that persons cultural/religious experienced on earth. For a example, a Christian will see Jesus in the light, a Buddhist will see Buddha, and the atheist their dead relatives. From a spiritual yet non-religious point of view, this makes a lot of sense. All religions are right and all religions are wrong.
There are also hellish experiences, but it seems to be more a result of self-inflicted hell that the person lead on earth and carried on into the afterlife, or a type of karma, that the person experiences subjectively also. If they were born in America, chances are they’ll see fire and brimstone, and if they were born in the East then chances are they’ll be in some sort of void empty of everything ‘good’. However, unlike traditional Western belief, non-belief doesn’t send you there, and that there is always that Light visible to pull you out when you are spiritually willing to move on. There’s always a choice of heaven. This I understand. It’s not so much punishment by some other deity as it is a painful yet necessary self-inflicted form of spiritual growth.
On a non-spiritual and more scientific approach, however, there is a chance that these people who die and come back to tell us about it, are not completely brain dead when they die, and are merely experiencing some form of hallucination that is created by the brain when placed in a life threatening situation – and the ultimate one at that. The tunnel scenario has often been described as due to lack of blood in the brain and happens in many real life situations such as fight or flight.
I want to continue to call myself atheist because logically there is no objective proof for God’s existence, and yet neither is there proof for his non-existence. The argument could go either way. And the fact is it will probably take me many years to be consciously comfortable with the idea that Christianity is a load of bull. And in that aspect, it’s more likely I’m anti-Christian and most things anti-religion than I am de-facto atheist.
Instead, I’ve come to the conclusion that at the most basic level, I’m a pantheist, and an Agnostic one at that. The truth is, I don’t know what exists, but due to logical reasoning my belief at the moment is approaching something (somewhat ludicrous) like this: (The atheistic logical beliefs will be written in bold, and the more agnostic views I have concerning the God, the supernatural, and the afterlife which have yet to be proven will be italicized.)
1) God and nature are one. Everything is connected, and it may or may not form one universal mind.
2) The universe is self-sustaining and interdependent. Nothing is truly created and nothing is truly destroyed. There was never a beginning and there will never be an end.
3) If there are lower forms of consciousness (plants, animals, ect.) then it serves to reason that higher forms than humans must exist, or be capable of existing. Through the learned process of evolution, the universe is in a constant state of growth through the cycle of life and death, until a being attains the highest level of consciousness and becomes one with the universal mind, with God.
4) Reincarnation is the shifting of physical energy at its simplest form and a shifting of consciousness at its most complex form, meaning that if an afterlife does exist then its more of a reincarnation into another reality formed by the universal consciousness of the universe.
5) It also serves to reason that if there is a non physical afterlife, then it must be a different realm, although not outside the laws of science and nature, lending to the theory that the afterlife is perhaps a fourth or nth dimensional, or even multi-versal. Based on the karmic levels of a person’s earth experience there will be different subjective realities that a person is born into. Much like all the Hindu variations of heaven and hell.
I know a lot of that makes no sense and is probably another attempt of my psyche trying to hold onto some greater meaning to my life in place of Christianity, and I’ll be sure to keep tabs on it. For now however as a transitional point away from Christianity its a large step to take, and perhaps real clarity will come in time. For the time being however, I’m surprised by how much Eastern philosophy pervades my beliefs, despite the fact the only thing I’ve known for most of my life is Christianity. Maybe at a spiritual level this is actually an intuitive thing, although I don’t really hold that much in account if it clashes with rationality. If I’m going to be spiritual, then reincarnation into a temporary heaven certainly seems more plausible than burning in hell for eternity for not believing in something that makes no sense. Then again there’s always that possibility that God does really exist but he’s just an evil bastard who thrives off contradictions and likes to watch people suffer..
Either way. I hope this concludes this really long revaluation of my values. At the heart of it, the concept of God, especially a religious one, is really illogical, and based on other peoples Near Death Experiences, I have nothing to fear of death either way. Either the afterlife and some form of non-contradictory God does exist and we live happily ever after, or it doesn’t exist and our physical bodies decay and release energy to help the cycle of life continue.